May 25, 2017 | Industry News
“If you’re willing to work hard in this country, you can make it,” says Subhir H. Patel, first-generation immigrant and owner of the Bennigan’s franchise in Borger, Texas.
“When I hear people complain about how hard it is to succeed here, I tell them they should go elsewhere and give it a shot. That’s when you’ll find out just how tough it can be, and maybe you’ll appreciate this country more.”
Patel personifies the American dream. Born and raised in Malawi—a former British colony in the southeast region of Africa—he left the impoverished nation with his family after graduating high school to attend the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy in London.
After college, Patel wanted to become a franchisee of a successful concept, but regulations prevented him from doing so. At 28 years of age, he was deemed too young to pursue his entrepreneurial goals.
In 2000, Patel immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Borger, Texas, a small town near Amarillo. He resumed his quest to own and operate a franchise, and soon partnered on a hotel in the small town of Borger, roughly 45 miles northeast of Amarillo. He married a “Texas girl” and began a family, which now includes three children.
With the hotel running smoothly, Patel soon turned his attention back to the foodservice industry.
“My wife and I were big fans of the Bennigan’s in Amarillo and we loved the overall feel of the restaurant, and especially its menu,” says Patel.
After some initial setbacks during the construction phase, Patel opened his Bennigan’s in Borger in May 2010; but the restaurant got off to a rocky start. In September, Patel made the decision to release all but one of his original managers and dove headfirst into the operations himself.
“I basically worked crazy hours, learned on the job and refused to give up,” he says. “We created a special lunch menu and even added breakfast, and steadily built a loyal guest base.”